The purple and blue colors in fruits and vegetables provide five benefits for our bodies. These foods are rich in antioxidants such as resveratrol, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid. Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals. They help to neutralize free radicals (oxidative stress) and lower inflammation in our bodies. In today’s blog, we’ll see that eating a cup of blueberries each day along with other purple and blue produce is a great habit that greatly impacts our overall health and well-being.
Purple and blue foods benefit us by:
Reducing the risk for cancer.
The anthocyanins found in purple and blue produce play a role in protecting our cells from damage. Blueberries contain the highest antioxidant and anthocyanin content of any produce which makes them one of the most nutrient-dense foods in this world. According to Dr. William Li, a Harvard Medical School graduate and researcher, blueberries actually prevent blood flow to cancer tumors. His research claims that nature’s blueberries are almost as powerful as the drug Avastin that his protégé at Harvard invented and is used with colon cancer patients. Without a blood supply to bring nutrients, cancer tumors can’t grow. According to the Cleveland Clinic, other studies show that anthocyanins increase sensitivity to chemotherapy, block the changes in DNA that cause cancer, and prevent metastasis. This cancer survivor doesn’t let a day pass without using these God-made goodies as preventive medicine.
Lowering the risk of heart disease.
Blueberries and other purple and blue produce are known to reduce blood pressure (something we all need as we age!) and are linked to lower levels of oxidized LDL and overall cholesterol. The plant compounds found in these deep purple and blue pigments also help improve blood vessel elasticity and enhance the endothelial lining of your blood vessels which only increases longevity. Cleveland Clinic nutritionist, Joyce Prescott, recommends the high anthocyanin content found in these plant compounds to prevent heart disease by lowering atherosclerosis and inflammation. Purple/red grapes which contain a high amount of resveratrol are associated in research with increased nitric oxide production and better heart health outcomes.
Preventing neurological diseases and improving cognitive function.
A 2019 review suggests that purple and blue foods which are high in polyphenols have a positive impact on cognitive functioning. According to the Cleveland Clinic, anthocyanins increase blood flow to areas of the brain that control memory, attention, and language. When researching what I could do to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia after my father’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease, I found that the top neurologists such as Dr. Vincent Fortanasce, Dr. David Perlmutter, and Dr. Dale Bredesen all recommend that “cup of blueberries daily” to prevent this devastating disease that turned our lives upside-down. These high-powered antioxidants protect brain cells from damage and benefit aging neurons by improving cell signaling.
Preventing infections and boosting the immune system.
The plant compounds in purple and blue produce may prevent your next UTI infection by inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Blueberries contain anti-adhesives that prevent bacteria from binding to the walls of your bladder. Anthocyanins also help boost your overall immune function. A 2016 study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Including purple and blue produce in your daily routine could also help ward off cases of flu, colds, and viruses including COVID-19.
Since purple and blue foods reduce oxidative stress and lower inflammation, they also increase your life span. Anything we do to enhance our brain function and prevent heart disease increases our longevity. In addition, when we put a plan in place to prevent cancer, our longevity also increases since heart disease, cancer, and brain diseases are among the leading causes of death in the US. Research shows that purple and blue foods slow aging and reduce the risk of disease.
Here are some of the healthiest purple and blue fruits and vegetables:
Purple Cauliflower (yes, there is such a thing!)
The purple and blue colors of fruits and vegetables indicate a high antioxidant content. These powerful antioxidants reduce our risk for cancer and prevent heart disease and cognitive decline while boosting our immune system and longevity. However, the benefits also include improving eye and skin health, mood, and overall health. The deeper the color, the richer the nutrients contained within.
For these reasons, this cancer survivor who lost her father to the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease makes sure she eats a cup of blueberries daily and now adds gems from these colorful foods to her daily routine. I never pass by a bowl of purple or red grapes without grabbing a few. These five benefits of purple and blue fruits and vegetables are too dear to my heart, brain, and body and have become a basic staple in our home.
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Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs, and Second Place in both Selah Awards for Memoirs and Director’s Choice Award for Nonfiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. It recently received the Christian Authors Network’s (CAN) Gold Award for Excellence in Marketing for reaching 62.5 million people with a message of cancer prevention and survival. It was written with commentary from an oncologist and was featured on CBN’s Healthy Living Show, Atlanta Live, and CTN’s Homekeepers along with over 75 media outlets. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.